Sony Music Entertainment (SME), simply known as Sony Music, is an American multinational music company owned by Sony Entertainment and managed by the American umbrella division of Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony. It is the recording division half of the Sony Music Group, with the other half being the publishing division, Sony Music Publishing (formerly Sony/ATV).
Founded in 1929 as American Record Corporation, it was acquired by the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1938 and renamed Columbia Recording Corporation. In 1966, the company was reorganized to become CBS Records. Its ownership was transferred to Sony who renamed it to its current name in 1991. Sony and Bertelsmann established a 50-50 joint venture known as Sony BMG in 2004 to handle the operations of Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group, but Sony acquired Bertelsmann's stake 4 years later and reverted to using the 1991 company name branding. This buyout incorporated and eventually absorbed labels formerly under BMG ownership like Arista, Jive, LaFace and J Records into former BMG and currently Sony's co-flagship record label, RCA Records, in 2011 and led to the relaunch of BMG as BMG Rights Management. Arista Records would later be revived in 2018.
As of 2023, Sony Music Entertainment is the second largest of the "Big Three" record companies, behind Universal Music Group and followed by Warner Music Group. Its music publishing division Sony Music Publishing (formerly Sony/ATV) is the largest music publisher in the world.
On July 17, 2019, Sony announced a merger of Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV to form the Sony Music Group. The merger was completed on August 1, 2019. Associated Artists